Chicken Francese

Easy technique makes for tender, flavourful meat!

I have always struggled to describe this dish. Perhaps if you imagine Chicken Parmesan without all the cheese and red sauce, married to a classic French cream sauce you’ll get a pretty good idea of how it tastes. I’ve seen it labelled as ‘Chicken Rochester’ as that’s purportedly where it was first created, by an Italian-American chef; I’ve also heard it called ‘Chicken French’, which I find a little amusing. No matter what you call it, know that it is absolutely delicious. Rather than pounding the chicken breasts to make them thin, I prefer to slice them so you get more portions. I like to serve the chicken and sauce over pasta with steamed asparagus, broccoli or green beans for a pop of colour on the plate. Note that you can make the sauce up to 48 hours ahead of time and refrigerate then reheat gently before serving. The chicken can also be breaded up to two hours before cooking; refrigerate on a parchment-lined tray then spray with oil right before cooking.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
  • 2 cups (500 mL) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy cream
  • 2 (6 oz / 170 g each, approx.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1 1/2 cups (126 g) panko or other dry breadcrumbs (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (.4 g) each dried basil and oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) grated Parmesan
  • Vegetable oil, for spraying
  • 2 tablespoons (7.5 g) finely chopped Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Lemon slices, to garnish
  • Hot cooked pasta, to serve

Method

  • Make sauce by melting the butter in a medium-sized skillet placed over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Stir in wine and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir in chicken broth; return to a steady boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Stir in cream, and bring to boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let sit while you prepare the chicken.
  • Slice chicken breasts horizontally to create two or three thin, large fillets from each. Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside. If baking in oven, preheat to 400F and line a small baking tray with parchment.
  • Place flour in a broad, shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk egg in a second broad, shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs, basil, oregano and parmesan in a third shallow bowl. If cooking in air fryer, preheat to 400F.
  • Line a plate or tray large enough to hold all the chicken pieces with parchment paper. Dredge each piece of flattened chicken lightly in the flour, shaking off excess, then dip each one in the egg mixture. Let excess egg mixture drip off then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to get crumbs to adhere. Place on prepared plate and repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Spray the top sides lightly with vegetable oil then flip and spray other side. Place in preheated air fryer or on prepared baking tray for oven, taking care not to overlap chicken pieces (cook in batches if you have to).
  • In air fryer, cook for 15 minutes, flipping over carefully at the seven minute mark.  In oven, cook for 15 minutes, flip and cook 5 – 7 minutes more, until chicken registers 165F in the thickest part. 
  • Reheat the cream sauce over medium heat until it is just about boiling. Stir in half the parsley and reduce heat to low.
  • If you used an air fryer and cooked in batches, reheat first batch of chicken in air fryer for 2 minutes before serving.
  • Place pasta plus one or two pieces of chicken on each plate and spoon cream sauce evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, add a lemon slice and serve hot.

Serves 2 – 4.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and YouTube.

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